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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: 2 Corinthians 10

For those who would like the convenience of being able to read the scripture I'm in dialogue with online, you can now just click on the "What I'm Reading Today" scripture and it will call up that passage from The Message.

There have been many powerful learnings that I’ve made on my road to recovery from codependency. Because I’ve had so many learnings, some might think it would be difficult for me to identify what learning has been most important. Such folks would be wrong for there is one learning in particular that has been most important. That learning is this: I am not responsible for how another person feels.

Sure, I do things that impact the life of other people all the time. My behaviors or actions can make the lives of others easier or more difficult. Ultimately, however, it is up to the people around me to decide how they choose to respond to my behaviors. I cannot accept responsibility for their thoughts or feelings.

This might sound like common sense to you, but this was a HUGE learning for me! Whenever someone around me was upset, for instance, I use to think it was always my fault they were upset. “If I could just change my behavior,” I thought, “then I could change the other person’s attitude.”

It wasn’t until I began to emotionally grow up that I began to set healthy boundaries between myself and others. Those boundaries helped me understand two things. First, I learned that it was possible for me to have different emotions than the person I was with. The person I was with, for instance, could be sad; and I could be happy. What a concept! Second, I learned it was possible to let go of my desire to control others and let the other person accept responsibility for their emotional well being.

I was reminded of the importance of healthy boundaries as I read Paul’s words to the believers in Corinth in today’s passage. In addressing some of the drama that existed in the community, Paul noted: “We’re sticking to the limits of what God has set for us. But there can be no question that those limits reach to and include you.” He then went on to add, “We’re not moving into someone else’s ‘territory’”

These words tell me that Paul had very clear boundaries in both his life and ministry. He knew who he was, what he was called to do, and who his audience was – and he lived within those boundaries.

Today I would invite you to ask yourself a simple question: “How good are my boundaries?” Do you have a clear sense of self and know where you end and others begin; or do you blur those boundaries and try to assume responsibility for/take control of others?

Til next time….

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